Instant Mom

Author shares her lessons in stepparenting

By Jessica Laskey
May 2024

At age 25, Lauren Hamilton became stepmom to three young boys. Recognizing she needed help, she searched for a book to assist with her tricky new role.

Nothing spoke to her experience, so Hamilton wrote the book herself.

“I kept finding all these love stories and I was definitely not living this happily-ever-after. I was navigating the trenches,” the Arden Oaks resident recalls. “I had days where I remember questioning, is this even worth it? How am I going to make it till they’re 18?

“Not a lot of people talk about the struggle that is step-parenting. So, this past July, I was walking the dog and thought, maybe I should just try writing about it. And I started typing.”

“Steppin’ Ain’t Easy: Confessions of a Stepmom” is a funny, self-deprecating and emotionally honest memoir about the trials and tribulations Hamilton faced over nearly eight years as a stepmom. She doesn’t hide her mistakes—like that time she swore at her stepsons during a difficult Easter moment.

Mostly, she celebrates lessons learned along the way.

“It was definitely a therapeutic process for me,” Hamilton says. “I realized how many mistakes I had really made and things I wished I had done differently. But we all make mistakes. We’re human. In writing it, I got to a point where I realized that I’m actually doing better than I thought.”

Hamilton has always had a “strong desire to help people.” In her day job, she assists families with special needs middle schoolers at Twin Rivers School District. With the book, Hamilton realized she could be just as helpful.

“So much of this book was based on where I could be of service, how could I help,” she says. “The processing of writing my story had to do with what would I tell one of my friends if they had to go through this.

“I’ve heard from friends who have split families that it helped them realized how hard they were on the stepparent. And a lot of people who are just parents have mentioned that it’s really nice to see someone put herself first. It’s important to be strong.”

Hamilton’s strength pulled her through tough moments, like when she was the only one in the family not given a gift to open at Christmas. There were teachable moments, like when she put a stop to the automatic Lauren laundry service the boys had come to expect.

Seeing a woman self-possessed enough to say no but who still cares deeply about the wellbeing of her family is refreshing and relatable.

“It’s really important for women to stand up for what we believe in and not be afraid to speak about all the things we’re feeling,” Hamilton says. “Somebody else has probably had the same feeling but they’re not talking about it, but it’s so important that we do. It helps us feel more normal.”

“Steppin’ Ain’t Easy” is available at Capitol Books (1011 K St.), Beers Books (712 R St.), East Village Books (3604 McKinley Blvd.) and

Jessica Laskey can be reached at Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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